Showtime Renews Californication; Sets Returns for Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara
On the heels of its most-watched series premiere, Californication has been picked up for a fifth season.
The Season 4 debut of the David Duchovny comedy drew 1.2 million viewers between its two airings Sunday.
Showtime's Californication hits high; Shameless is biggest drama premiere
Showtime also announced Friday that Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara will return on Monday, March 28. The Borgias, an upcoming period drama starring Jeremy Irons, will debut with a two-hour premiere on April 3 at 9/8c.
Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins, presiding over his first Television Critics Association winter previews for the network, also announced that he had ordered a new reality series documenting a year in the life of 2010 World Series baseball champs, the San Francisco Giants. The as-yet-untitled series, which follows the team's players, managers, wives, girlfriends and parents, will chronicle the next 10 months of life for the Giants the through the off-season, Spring Training and regular season. A one-hour special preceding the launch of the series will premiere on opening day.
Emmanuelle Chriqui joins Showtime's The Borgias
In other news from Nevin's Showtime session:
The Kennedys didn't feel like it belonged on Showtime. Nevins said he considered acquiring the high-profile miniseries starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes, recently cut loose by The History Channel. "It was well-acted, well-made and very watchable," he said. But "it didn't feel Showtime. It didn't feel premium cable." (The miniseries is reportedly now being circled by DirecTV.)
Homeland, House of Lies, Gigolos ... Oh my! After just five months on the job, Nevins has already attracted a number of big actors to Showtime's priority pilots. Homeland stars Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin in a story about a U.S. Marine sergeant who is found 10 years after going missing during the invasion of Baghdad. "I think it's a genre no one is doing on TV: the true psychological thriller," Nevins said.
Don Cheadle stars in House of Lies, a half-hour dark comedy about a cutthroat consultant. There's also Gigolos, an upcoming reality show following a group of male escorts in Las Vegas. "It's not new territory for Showtime, but I think we're doing it in a way that complements the sophisticated stuff we're doing in comedy and drama."
Watch the trailer for The Kennedys
The Real L Word will be back this summer with a (mostly) new cast. "The network has had a long relationship with gay and lesbian audiences that I think is important to protect," Nevins said. "There's an interesting version of the show I think we didn't quite get last year... I think we can make it more premium." The second season will be recast to focus on Whitney Mixter — "the untamed lover of life... always looking for love, but losing to lust" — and her young twentysomething circle of friends. "We want to capture that subculture and go deeper."
Lisa Kudrow's series of shorts, Web Therapy, will air soon. Expect to see them on the channel sometime in the second quarter, to be exact. The series stars Kudrow as a therapist who holds her sessions over a webcam. Guest stars include Jane Lynch, Rashida Jones and Courteney Cox.
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The Borgias is more like 24 than The Tudors. "It's got the hook and story turns of 24," Nevins said. "You really want to know what's happening next. It's a little more muscular and story-driven than The Tudors... [but] it has all the beauty and eye candy and opulence you'd expect out of a period piece."
The Green Room with Paul Provenza will be back, cooler than ever. Nevins said the comedy series is an "important" show for the network, even while its first season drew a small audience. The executive recently attended a Season 2 taping with panelists Garry Shandling, Ray Romano and Judd Apatow. "Suddenly, it feels like it's become cool," Nevins said. "It felt like a great party.... It's a unique format, and I'm interesting in taking comedy programming, stand-up specifically, to the next level."